Apollo 11 Celebration

You’ve probably seen this image all over the news this week. With the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, the Air and Space Museum has been projecting Apollo 11 on the Washington Monument.

If you haven’t seen it in person, it will be projected again tonight and tomorrow, along with other activities at the museum to celebrate the moon landing.

The spacesuit is back!

Neil Armstrong’s suit could withstand temperature fluctuations of 500 degrees, but not 50 years of display in the museum. The suit was removed from display in 2006, and just came back on Tuesday in time for the 50th anniversary. The line was long, but it is totally worth seeing and will be on display indefinitely at the museum.

The suit has 21 layers of different materials to handle extreme temperatures, radiation, and other hazards. These materials are out-gassing and decaying at different rates, making preservation a big challenge. The museum needed outside support to get the funds for conservation of the suit, so they turned to Kickstarter for a successful campaign to raise $500,000.

The conservation project preserved the suit but didn’t clean it up, because all the dirt you see on the suit is the original moon dirt.

Where’s the lunar module?

One of the first things you see when you walk into the Air & Space Museum is the lunar module. But it isn’t the lunar module from Apollo 11 – that module was jettisoned from the Command Module the day after the moon landing, and its impact location on the moon is unknown. The module on display is LM-2, which was one of two models created for the first testing flights. LM-1 went up in the unmanned Apollo 5, and was so successful that LM-2 did not need to be tested in flight, although it was used for ground testing. LM-2 has been modified to look similar to the “Eagle” module used in Apollo 11.

The moon has loomed large in human imagination for a long time, and it still fascinates both young and old.

Air and Space Museum

Even the famous Q Street Barbies are going to the moon this week.

For those of us who will never go to the moon, there are so many great places to see it in D.C. against all the iconic monuments. One of our favorite spots is when the moon moves in back of the Statue of Freedom on the Capitol.

You’ll always find people out watching it come up over the Jefferson Memorial and reflect in the Tidal Basin.

The Chinatown Arch is a less common spot to look for the moon, but it is special when it is visible just over the arch.

And he beholds the moon; like a rounded fragment of ice filled with motionless light.

Gustave Flaubert, The Temptation of Saint Anthony, 1894

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